Validity is a contextual aspect of a scale which may differ across sample populations and study protocols. The objective of our study was to validate the Care-Related Quality of Life Instrument (CarerQol) across two different study design features, sampling framework (general population vs. different care settings) and survey mode (interview vs. written questionnaire).
Data were extracted from The Older Persons and Informal Caregivers Minimum DataSet (TOPICS-MDS, www.topics-mds.eu), a pooled public-access data set with information on >3,000 informal caregivers throughout the Netherlands. Meta-correlations and linear mixed models between the CarerQol’s seven dimensions (CarerQol-7D) and caregiver’s level of happiness (CarerQol-VAS) and self-rated burden (SRB) were performed.
The CarerQol-7D dimensions were correlated to the CarerQol-VAS and SRB in the pooled data set and the subgroups. The strength of correlations between CarerQol-7D dimensions and SRB was weaker among caregivers who were interviewed versus those who completed a written questionnaire. The directionality of associations between the CarerQol-VAS, SRB and the CarerQol-7D dimensions in the multivariate model supported the construct validity of the CarerQol in the pooled population. Significant interaction terms were observed in several dimensions of the CarerQol-7D across sampling frame and survey mode, suggesting meaningful differences in reporting levels.
Although good scientific practice emphasises the importance of re-evaluating instrument properties in individual research studies, our findings support the validity and applicability of the CarerQol instrument in a variety of settings. Due to minor differential reporting, pooling CarerQol data collected using mixed administration modes should be interpreted with caution; for TOPICS-MDS, meta-analytic techniques may be warranted.